After a video tribute from fellow Swede Daniel Alfredsson — a speech with enough gushing praise to make a Leaf fan embrace a Senators fan — former Maple Leaf captain Mats Sundin delivered this speech Monday on the occasion of his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame: Daniel never told me those words on the ice. Nineteen Sixty-Six, Max Bentley, Toe Blake, Butch Bouchard, Frank Brimsek, Ted Kennedy, Elmer Lach, Ted Lindsay were inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Five years later I was born and 46 years later after that date, I’m standing here being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.That same year, my father Tommy took my mother Gunilla on their first date in Stockholm. It’s a very humbling and tremendous honour to stand here today in front of all of you.Michael’s has been a close friend of me and my family for all these years. The friends, on and off the ice, that supported me no matter what the score was at the end of the game.
Playing hockey at an early age was the most important thing in my life.
Me and my brothers played street hockey every day, summer, fall, spring or winter. You realize as you get older the benefits of being part of team sports.
It’s a great game where you develop skills, your character and your passion. So I agree Pat, there is an I in team and that mentality helped me develop as a player and take responsibility for my own game.
Playing in the NHL is the elite in the hockey world, competing against the best of the best.
I’d like to thank my parents, who drove me and my two brothers, Patrick and Per, to every small rink there is in Stockholm, early Sunday mornings, late nights putting three of us in first place. It means a whole lot to me for all of you to be here today.
Without your support, I would not be standing here today. Special thanks to a friend of our family, Michael Walton. On the plane over here, I was thinking to myself, how can I recognize everyone that has influenced me, supported me and helped me over all these years? Great trainers, coaches and management that gave me a chance to compete and believed I had the ability to play in the National Hockey League.